New Eden has always been good to me. It has given me the opportunity to experience the thrill of victory and the utterly crippling sting of defeat. It has brought me great riches, sometimes only to take them away due to a slight misstep. It has earned me friends, and pilots that would slit my avatar’s throat if they had the chance. I play here, I live here.
There are exciting times ahead with all of the upcoming changes to structures, new ships, new mechanics, and even lore. But why am I not excited? Why am I not brainstorming within my circle to figure out an avenue of attack? Why am I not organizing test server nights to run through the paces of new ships? Why am I not updating my industry spreadsheets to see about attacking the market?
Over the last few months, I’ve had this feeling that the game has been marginalizing veteran players. New player this, new player that. How about the guys that have been here since the beginning? Can we get a bone? It always troubled me when I would hear about a new player earning enough to buy a PLEX for a subscription within the first month of playing. Has Eve really gotten so easy, I muttered to myself, that some WOW clone reject off the street can earn a month of game time right after character creation??? I know I should be happy for them. I should be glad that they can play for one more month. But I wasn’t. I was jealous.
I kept clutching at this old idea of elitism; a false sense of grandeur.
To compound the new “easy mode”, a lot of people I used to fly with had simply quit the game. “Too much downtime, not enough fun. I want to PVP, not fly around in circles just to get ganked in a 10-on-1 fight.” I can’t really say that I blame them. Especially in the small group that I flew in, we didn’t have the means to raise our corp to the next level without sacrificing our freedom – or so we thought.
These negative feelings just sat there, growing. I thought this game simply wasn’t the same game I started playing years ago. The game world I’d fallen in love with had transformed itself, without taking me with it. Maybe that was just it; mentally, I hadn’t changed with the times. I was stuck in 2009, taking on all comers who would fight my fail-fit Rifter in the top belt of Amamake. My in-game persona failed to mature with the game environment: I kept clutching at this old idea of elitism; a false sense of grandeur.
I could have simply stopped right there – cancelled subscriptions, sold everything, posted an incoherent rant on the forum. I gave it serious thought, but in the end, I was absolutely invested. I was invested, not in ISK, or kills, or a flag. I was invested in Roedyn. He is what I wish I was outside of New Eden. He would not quietly let me send him down into nothingness. When thoughts of leaving swam in my head, Roedyn would be there looking at me from my screen, shaking his head. “Not. Yet.” He is a survivor, a wanderer, a forever underdog. Let’s give it just one more honest try.
It was time to reinvent myself. I needed to answer some fundamental questions about my future in Eve.
…if I was serious about finding myself again in Eve, I needed to stop trying so hard to win.
Was I willing to uproot myself, not just geographically, but from the playstyle I had known and loved? I’d had to adjust myself from time to time, but once situated, I would always go back to the same old habits, the same familiar gameplay. This time around, I decided, I would do something I have not yet done. I would find that thing that I knew nothing about.
Was it alright to not know the answers anymore? This one was a gut check. I had always prided myself in my knowledge of EVE, and my ability to think my way to a solution. Now, I would be putting myself in a situation where I would no longer be an expert. In the end, I decided, I was willing to give up one of my strengths if it meant finding my new place in the world.
For the matter of ISK, I could only chuckle; going out in a Tech 1 destroyer still feels like I’m splashing out. I think I’ll be able to keep up with this pace of spending.
Having spent the majority of my combat life in low sec, this was the first fundamental change that I needed to tackle. I would break myself out of my “elite pvp” tunnel vision; there is so much more to New Eden besides the bloody battlefields of Innia, Huola, and Tama. I would once again take to my nomadic roots and move on to different pastures. Armed with blasters and a new-found sense of optimism, I would go forth and wreak havoc elsewhere. The war zones have been good to me. Your space, littered with corpses and twisted metal, will always have a place in my heart.
At this point, I thought I was done. But there was the matter of accounts and alts. I’d created many, each with a very specific purpose – but if I was serious about finding myself again in Eve, I needed to stop trying so hard to win.
I found good homes for my more developed characters – a capital pilot, and a Tengu scanner – and gave them away. They now belong to capsuleers who will get just as much enjoyment from them as I did. They have moved on to a fresh life, much like me. They will be valued again. A couple of spare Cyno alts were biomassed.
Lastly, to complete my metamorphosis from bitter try-hard to wide-eyed wanderer, I wanted to experience the game as I had when I first started. I reset all game settings to default, complete with sound.
Now this may seem meaningless, but to me it was a fundamental shift. Hearing the hum of empty space, the roar of my engines, and the barely-audible whispers of the solar wind, took me back to the time when Eve first became real for me. I felt a sense of the unknown, I felt wonder again in New Eden.
Why bother? Why make these sacrifices, why go through all that trouble in re-imagining yourself? Do you think it will actually change the game for you or increase your enjoyment?
In all honesty, I don’t know. And therein lies the spark of something that might become great. If there was one proximate cause for my malaise in EVE, it was that I felt I knew too much about the subjects I concerned myself with. I can reasonably deduce whether a fight is winnable; if it isn’t, I’ll run. I have a pretty good idea if an item I’m producing will earn profit; if it doesn’t, then I’ll build something else. I needed to put myself back in a position where I would be uncomfortable. I yearned for the challenge of the unknown. From now on, I will jump blindly, and engage the first thing that appears on my overview. Win or lose, I can say proudly that I fought.
Time and time again I’ve heard fellow players clamor for a hard restart of the game: “The goons have won. Can we get a do-over now?” They want Eve 2.0. But here’s the funny part. We are, collectively, Eve. If you want things to change, if you want things to get better, then look no further than your own avatar. If you change, and embody what you want Eve to be, then it will be so.
You humble capsuleers, you demigods of the stars, you have all the power in New Eden. You have the power to change yourself. But sometimes, it takes almost leaving this world to realize that.